When Rob Whitaker of Georgia gets some down time at work, he peeks in on his 2-year-old daughter Taylor while she naps or plays.
But Taylor can't hear or see her daddy because he is watching over the Net.
Whitaker, the assistant director for budgets for Georgia's University system, is one of the parents taking advantage of a new system offered by a day-care center in Marietta, Georgia.
The center is part of the Kids R Kids International chain, which is now using a system called KinderCam to allow parents watch their kids at any time of the day via video cameras hooked up to the Net.
The images parents see are not live video, but a series of still photos--six pictures of the location a minute. Parents can only log on with a password.
The product was officially announced today by ParentNet and Axis Communication. The system cost each Kids R Kids center a one-time fee of approximately $15,000 for 12 cameras, enough to monitor 200 children. One camera could cost up to $3,500, said Kim Rose, a spokeswoman for both companies.
Whitaker doesn't pay for his service, but day-cares could charge parents up to $19.95 a month for the service, according to Rose.
"I would pay if it was live video," Whitaker said today. "When you're viewing about every minute, you get a revised still picture. Still for a parent who has a strong desire to see what is going on in their child's life its a great opportunity. It gives you peace of mind."
But, he adds, what some parents see might actually increase their anxiety.
"Some overprotective parents might be calling up their day-care every minute, saying things like, "My daughter just rolled off her mat, help her!'"